Modular Terpene Synthesis Enabled by Mild Electrocatalytic Couplings

08 November 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The synthesis of terpenes is a large field of research that is woven deeply into the history of chemistry. Terpene biosynthesis is a case-study of how the logic of a modular design can lead to diverse structures with unparalleled efficiency. This work mimics Nature by leveraging modern Ni-catalyzed electrochemical sp2–sp3 decarboxylative coupling reactions—enabled by Ag-nanoparticle modified electrodes—to intuitively assemble terpene natural products and complex polyenes. The step-change in efficiency of this approach is exemplified through the scalable preparation of 13 complex terpenes, which minimized protecting group manipulations, functional group interconversions, and redox fluctuations. Finally, the mechanistic aspects of the essential functionalized electrodes are studied in depth through a variety of spectroscopic and analytical techniques.


organic synthesis
total synthesis
natural products

Supplementary materials

Supporting information
Materials and Methods Spectra and characterization Figures S1–S112 Tables S1–58 References


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.